As the director of the Maine Small Business Coalition, which represents more than 4,000 small businesses across this state, I speak with business owners every day. Many of them have been hit hard by COVID-19 and the ensuing economic crisis has forced some of them to close permanently.

It’s hard enough to figure out when and how to reopen small businesses with clear, science-based guidelines. It becomes much more difficult to reopen with officials like Nancy Beck, a former chemical industry lobbyist who President Trump has nominated to be this nation’s top consumer safety watchdog. Beck deliberately buried a 63-page report from the Centers for Disease Control that would have given small business owners guidance on how to reopen their businesses safely. The science did not match President Trump’s desire to reopen, regardless of the risk, so she shelved it.

Beck has a long track record of deliberately ignoring science. She spent five years as the head of a lobby representing companies like Monsanto, Dow and Exxon. At the Environmental Protection Agency, she helped to bury a report showing that we have dangerous levels of “forever chemicals,” also known as chemicals per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in bodies of water across this nation.

Those forever chemicals have devastated a century-old family farm in Arundel and threaten countless other natural resource-based Maine small businesses if we approve someone like Nancy Beck to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to reject her nomination.

Adam Zuckerman, Portland

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